MARTIN, Tenn. – Tony Bell and Jeremy Butler, teammates on the University of Tennessee at Martin football team, have been spotlighted as All-Americans for their impressive body of work during the 2013 season.
The duo both chalked up Associated Press second team All-American accolades. In addition, Bell was recently named a third team All-American by College Sports Madness and an honorable mention All-American by Beyond Sports Network. Meanwhile, Butler was named a second team All-American by College Sports Madness.
A 6-1, 200-pound linebacker from Memphis, Tenn., Bell strung together several noteworthy outings during his junior campaign. He led the Ohio Valley Conference with 10.5 sacks, a total that ranked seventh nationally amongst Football Championship Subdivision players. He also led the OVC with 15 tackles for loss while also cracking the league’s top-10 in forced fumbles (three; second), fumble recoveries (three; fourth) and tackles (80, 10th).
An All-OVC first teamer, Bell earned National Defensive Player of the Week accolades on two separate occasions in 2013. He was tabbed with the national recognition after five tackles for loss at Football Bowl Subdivision powerhouse Boise State on Sept. 7 and again after setting new career-highs with 16 tackles and 4.5 sacks against OVC foe Murray State on Nov. 2.
Butler, who earned All-OVC second team accolades, ranked amongst the nation’s best wide receivers. The senior from Bradenton, Fla. racked up 1,203 receiving yards (sixth in FCS ranks) and hauled in 7.5 receptions per game (seventh in FCS). He also concluded his season by ranking in the top-five in the OVC with 10 touchdown catches (fourth) and 106.67 all-purpose yards per game (fifth).
The 6-3, 205-pound Butler accounted for at least 90 receiving yards in nine games – seven of which came in OVC play. He recorded 100 or more yards receiving in five contests in 2013 and registered three multi-touchdown performances against league opposition (Jacksonville State, Austin Peay and Murray State). He tallied season-highs in receptions (11) and receiving yards (171) in the road victory over Austin Peay on Oct. 26.
All in all, the pair helped the Skyhawks to yet another winning season, as UT Martin went 7-5 with a 5-3 OVC record in 2013. That marked the third winning season in the last four years and fifth in the last eight seasons under head coach Jason Simpson.